Crisis for Hollande as first lady backs rival of ex-partner Royal
FRANCOIS Hollande, the French president, was facing a personal and political crisis yesterday after Valerie Trierweiler, the first lady, openly backed a rival of his ex-partner Segolene Royal in parliamentary elections.
In what has been dubbed "the war of the roses", a single explosive tweet from Ms Trierweiler sent shockwaves through the Socialist Party's parliamentary election campaign. Some warned it could cost Mr Hollande's party crucial seats.
A commentator close to Ms Trierweiler (47) said she had acted out of "blind jealousy" against Ms Royal, the 58-year-old mother of Mr Hollande's four children, creating a private and political "psychodrama" at the pinnacle of state.
Ms Trierweiler is said to be deeply unhappy about Mr Hollande wading into the parliamentary campaign to back Ms Royal against a fellow Left-winger for a parliamentary seat in La Rochelle, western France.
The Socialists' failed 2007 presidential candidate is fighting an uphill battle against Olivier Falorni, the head of the local Socialist federation, who has refused a party order to step down to back her.
Ms Royal came top in Sunday's first round with 32pc against Mr Falorni's 29pc. But she could lose Sunday's run-off to her Left-wing rival, as he has received the backing of the ousted centre-Right UMP candidate who accused Ms Royal of acting like a "rock star".
The Right would be only too happy to knock out a Socialist heavyweight like Ms Royal, whom Mr Hollande has pledged to give the post of president of the national assembly -- should she win -- as thanks for her support in party primaries. (© Daily Telegraph, London)